What is Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome?

What is Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome?

Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed.

The ulnar nerve runs from the neck into the hand, it is one of the three main nerves that provide feeling and function to the hand.

You have almost certainly experienced pain related to the ulnar nerve - it's the nerve affected when you hurt your 'funny bone' in the elbow.

It is usually caused by a soft tissue tumor, most commonly a ganglion cyst.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include weakness, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hand, wrist or fingers, particularly the little and ring finger. You may also experience hand weakness or loss of grip.

How is it treated?

If you suspect you have Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome, you need to visit your doctor who can use tests including tapping on your ulnar nerve, a CT scan, MRI, X-ray electromyography or nerve conduction study.

Treatments include over the counter painkillers, ergonomic adjustments to your job or daily tasks, steroid injections and braces and splinting.

Surgery may be necessary to remove whatever is causing the compression on the nerve, likely to be a ganglion or cyst or scar tissue. 

Another option is to cut a ligament in the wrist to reduce pressure. Surgery recovery usually takes a few months.